4 ½ Stars 2023 Platter’s South African Wine Guide
Dark-fruited & stately, 18 (93 pts) displays its quality credentials. Drop of cab franc & petit verdot rein in riper elements, helps create complexity, sophistication. Still embryonic & firmly held, should evolve with reward. 56% new oak, 17 months.
92 pts Tim Atkin MW 2022
The Merlot blocks at Meerlust are mostly located closer to False Bay to benefit from the cool breezes blowing off the ocean, which is beneficial in a drought year like 2018. Fine, perfumed and elegant, with graphite, cherry and bramble fruit, stylish 40% new oak and a bright, balanced finish. 2023-30
This wine consists of 86% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot. It is made up of a few individual parcels that are all fermented separately before undergoing malolactic fermentation in 300 L barrels. After 8 months in barrel, the final components were selected and blended and given another 10 months in barrel for harmonization before bottling.
Brick red colour with crimson edge. Typical Merlot characteristics on nose with ripe plum and dark cherry notes underpinned by some dried herbs and oak spice. The palate is plush while still delicate on the finish, showing complex cherry tobacco flavours coupled with a fine acidity. This wine shows the intensity and concentration of the 2018 vintage and as with all Merlot’s from the estate, will age gracefully and will gain in complexity and suppleness of tannin for many years to come.
The 2018 harvest season was very challenging due to a prolonged drought, whom some believe to be the worst in 100 years, showing its impact. The winter months only cooled off later with higher-than-normal temperatures and the farm only receiving 80% of the expected winter rainfall. The dry weather throughout the season did have its advantages as vines were healthy, with little or no pests and diseases being recorded. The limited water availability also resulted in a smaller crop due to lighter bunches and very small berries. This coupled with the night temperatures that were cooler than usual during the ripening period, resulted in excellent colour and flavour development.